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Gardening in South Africa

Common Primroses are little gems which are hard to ignore when in full bloom.

Primula acaulis mixed bicolour. Picture courtesy www.nuleaf.co.zaPrimula acaulis mixed bicolour. Picture courtesy www.nuleaf.co.zaThe wild primrose is a cheerful little flower with its pretty pale yellow flowers with orange-yellow centres, peeking above a rosette of fat, wrinkled leaves - like a little splash of sunshine in a bleak wintry world. Although they often flower in winter, primroses are synonymous with spring, and in their countries of origin are one of the first wild flowers to show their faces - even their name derives from the Latin for “first rose”.

Bokbaaivygies can be used just about anywhere you have full sun in the winter garden.

Bokbaaivygie. Picture courtesy Doreanthus Maria KlangBokbaaivygie. Picture courtesy Doreanthus Maria KlangBokbaai vygies are one of South Africa’s most famous wildflower exports, and they are grown worldwide for their multitude of silky-textured flowers in a dazzling range of colours like yellow, cream, pink, lavender, magenta, and orange. This winter-growing annual is a succulent which forms a low groundcover, +-10cm tall and 30cm wide. The green or maroon-tinted leaves are spoon-shaped and more or less flat, and the conspicuous raised surface cells on the leaves are modified for water storage, and glisten beautifully in bright sunlight. The common name Bokbaaivygie commemorates a farm which was owned by the Duckitt family for generations, called “Bokbaai“ (Buck Bay,) near Darling on the Cape west coast, where this species grows in abundance.

Broccoli that matures during cool weather produces the sweetest tasting heads.

Love it or hate it, broccoli still holds its own in the vegetable kingdom, ranking as the world's fifth most popular vegetable. President Barack Obama certainly would agree, and at a state dinner at the White House he once stated that broccoli was his favourite vegetable! Many would disagree however, and one famous person who would definitely disagree is America's 43rd President, George Bush. He hated broccoli so much that he banned it from being served on Air Force One, and was quoted saying, "I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. I'm President of the United States, and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli!” No matter your taste, broccoli remains one of the world's most nutritious vegetables, and certainly one of the most exotic looking, with its dark green, crisp and sturdy florets.

Sow African Daisy seed this autumn for an inexpensive, hassle-free riot of colour through winter and spring.

saflag  African Daisy. Picture courtesy Scott ParrishAfrican Daisy. Picture courtesy Scott ParrishThese indigenous flowers carpet the bare veldt of the south-western and north-western Cape and Namaqualand in spring, and the flowers are so prolific that the leaves are almost invisible when the blooms appear. Dimorphotheca are members of the large Asteraceae family, which includes asters, daisies, and sunflowers, and their daisy-like flowers will attract butterflies to your garden. They come in the traditional bright orange and yellow flowers as well as many pastel shades and pure white.

The African Daisy is used as low cover around shrubs or as the focal point in mass plantings. They also make beautiful borders, so sow them in mass into large borders, beds and rockeries for hassle-free winter and spring colour. These sun lovers will only open their petals in sunlight and remain steadfastly closed at night or on overcast days.

Flamingo flowers are very effective as a natural air purifier.

In spite of its exotic appearance the flamingo flower is surprisingly low maintenance and it’s not hard to care for as long as you understand its needs. Once you have the plant in the right soil and the right location, watering and feeding is simple. A well-cared for plant, whether it is in your garden or home, will reward you with wonderful, long lasting flowers for many years.  Just one plant can give a room a more tropical feel, so naturally, homeowners are adding this tropical plant to their outdoor rooms as well.


Gardening in the Shade

shade book

Growing Vegetables in South Africa

Growing Bedding Plants in South Africa

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